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Review: The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan

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Warning: This post was published more than 5 years ago.

I keep old posts on the site because sometimes it's interesting to read old content. Not everything that is old is bad. Also, I think people might be interested to track how my views have changed over time: for example, how my strident teenage views have mellowed and matured!

But given the age of this post, please bear in mind:

  • My views might have changed in the 5 years since I wrote this post.
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Many thanks for your understanding.

I was really attracted to the idea of this book: 39 passengers on a lifeboat struggling for survival, making tough choices, and operating within a tricky ethical and moral framework.

But the book didn’t live up to its promise. The characters were poorly developed, and I simply didn’t care about them. The single first-person narrative structure lessened the reader’s ability to interpret the situation from multiple points of view. This problem is worsened by the narrator being a dull, submissive, self-centred bore. There are too many flashbacks to the time prior to the sinking of the ship, and too much of the story is set after the final passengers have been rescued. The dilemmas were framed in the predominantly Christian ethical framework of the early 20th century, which was very limiting. And, predictably, there was a church figure amongst the passengers on the lifeboat. Even reading that last sentence alone, you can probably guess his fate.

This is a short book, but it was a struggle to plough through. It had enjoyable moments and passages, but the narrative structure of the story and the period in which it was set both conspired to constrict the moral and ethical superstructure to such an extent that it ceased to be interesting.

In summary, the premise is great, but the execution is poor.

The Lifeboat is available now from amazon.co.uk in paperback and on Kindle.

This 1,834th post was filed under: Book Reviews, .






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